Adaptive snowboarder and bilateral transtibial amputee Amy Purdy and her dance partner Derek Hough cha-chaed and tangoed their way to a very close second-place spot on the May 20 finale of season 18 of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), finishing just one point behind 2014 Olympic ice dancing gold medalist Meryl Davis and DWTS veteran Maks Chmerkovskiy.
Purdy, who won a bronze medal in snowboarding in the sport’s Paralympic debut in Sochi, Russia, earlier this year, and Hough, a five-time DWTS winner, scored 89 out of 90 for their salsa, freestyle, and fusion dance (Argentine tango and cha-cha) performances, while Davis and Chmerkovskiy earned a perfect total combined score of 90 from the judges.
Purdy told LER that she went into DWTS not knowing what to expect and with an initial goal of not being the first person eliminated. “With each passing week my confidence grew, and before too long I believed I could win, I was determined to do so, and I came pretty close. I owe a great deal of my success to the brilliance of my partner, Derek Hough, and I’m grateful to everyone on the show, especially the producers, for giving me this chance,” said Purdy, cofounder of Copper Mountain, CO-based Adaptive Action Sports (see “Out on a limb: As Purdy does,” page 9).
“I have long believed that when you give people a chance, and you give them the support they need to submerge themselves in a seemingly impossible challenge, that oftentimes the results will surprise you,” she said.
Purdy followed up her DWTS finale with a June 9 visit on The Price is Right as a guest model, and noted she has some more modeling work lined up for 2014, including an appearance in ESPN The Magazine’s special edition “The Body Issue,” which features nude shots of elite athletes. She’s also at work on her autobiography and later this year will launch a new clothing line with Irvine, CA-based Element Eden.